Sheetla Devi is believed to be the Goddess of Small Pox. The fair is held on Shetla Ashtami day that falls during the month of March or April each year to please the goddess so that there is no visitation of a small pox epidemic. This fair is a rural celebration and is quite popular in the interiors of Rajasthan.
The most popular Sheetla Mata fair is held at Seel-Ki-Doongri, a village in Jaipur district. This village has a shrine dedicated to the goddess. The shrine is on a hillock, called Doongri in the local language. The present temple is believed to have been made by Maharaja Madho Singh of Jaipur. The fair is attended by more than one lakh people each year.
The fair is extremely popular with visitors because of the display of rural life and colors. The devotees of the Mata come from far and near in their beautifully decorated bullock-carts. The sound of bells tied to the necks of bullocks sound in the air. The carts and their colorful occupants assembled at the foot of the hill crowned by the shrine is a memorable sight of Rajasthan. Apart from bullocks, the rural people also trade in cattle, camels and horses and other wares. The atmosphere at the fair is of a picnic and it is extremely enjoyable.
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